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Italian COVID-19 patients in crisis wards struggle to breathe
Italian COVID-19 patients in crisis wards struggle to breathe

Rome, March 21 (TIWN) A footage has emerged showing the hectic scenes inside a hospital in one of the hardest-hit regions of Italy, where staff members could be seen rushing through wards with beds full of coronavirus patients struggling to even breathe, it was reported on Friday.

The footage was taken inside the Papa Giovanni XXII hospital in the crisis-hit area of Bergamo in Lombardy region, Sky News reported.

The staff members are seen rushing past wards already rammed with beds all filled with people in terrible distress - gasping for air, clutching at their chests and at tubes pumping oxygen into their oxygen-starved lungs.

Lorenzo Grazioli, who works at the hospital but was previously based in Leicester, told Sky News: "I have never felt so stressed in my life. I''m an intensivist, and I am quite used to intense moments, and the choices, and people are critical and die without any treatment, and you (usually) make the difference.

"But when you are at this point you realise that you are not enough. We are 100 anaesthetists, we are doing our best, but maybe it''s not enough."

The head of emergency care, Roberto Cosentini, said they have never seen anything like it, and he and his staff were warning other countries that they would see it soon.

"It''s a very severe pneumonia, and so it''s a massive strain for every health system, because we see every day 50 to 60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen.

"And so we had to reorganise our emergency room and our hospital (to) three levels of intensive care," he told Sky News.

On Thursday, Italy reached a gruesome milestone when it reported more coronavirus deaths than China, where the virus first emerged last December.

As of Friday, Italy has registered 3,405 deaths with 41,035 cases, while China reported 3,133 fatalities and 81,202 infections.

Italy reached the new record on the same day the original epicentre of the pandemic, Wuhan in China, recorded no new infections.

Italians have been ordered to stay indoors, with schools and universities shut, shops closed except for grocery stores and pharmacies, and heavy restrictions on travel, reports the Daily Mail newspaper.

But the country''s healthcare system has been overwhelmed by the virus and on Thursday a visiting Chinese Red Cross team criticised the failure of Italians to fully quarantine and take the national lockdown seriously.

Meanwhile military trucks were deployed across Italy to transport scores of coffins to be cremated as another chilling footage taken at the San Marco di Zingonia hospital in Bergamo emerged on Wednesday showing patients laid out on beds along the corridors of an ICU.

The video showed patients on ventilators in overcrowded rooms, showing how the crisis has overwhelmed even the high-quality health service in northern Italy.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte has now warned that quarantine measures ''must be extended beyond their original deadline''. Some had initially been due to expire by March 25.

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